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  • Seen Live

    Set 5 2010, 20h00

  • Tagging & Scrobbling Classical Music

    Ago 16 2010, 18h12

    This is a repost from June 2009, imported from my old Last.FM profile traindriver. The issues described are still unresolved, and I would like to hear from you reading this, if you have classical music, how do you catalogue/scrobble it? By composer (the current status quo) or by artist (performer?

    music have no place on Last.FM!

    Why? Well, I don't really think so, but it was a nice opening line ;-)

    Honestly though, why is it that with "" music (as opposed to ) we are meant to tag our tracks in i.e. by composer rather than by performer? I mean, you don't file one of Madonna's track under her songwriter's name? Yet if you have a track by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, then the status quo dictates that you should list him, Mozart, as the artist and not the perfomer?

    Leon McCawley may be good for his age but he's no match for Nikolai Petrov is he? So why should we tag all the songs played by both these pianissimos as "Mozart" only? If Madonna were to perform a song by the Beatles it would still be labelled as Madonna's track not John Lennon's...

    It must come as no surprise to you then, to learn that I list my music, classical and contemporary by the principal performing artist and not by composer (though I do list a composer as the composer of course). When you look up say Mozart here on Last.FM you'll find he's got half a million played tracks, but (since no-one of us have lived long enough to listen to the maestro himself) what you don't see is the myriad of performers playing his tracks and due to the Last.FM system Mozart is not credited for these unless you have listed Mozart as the artist, and why should he?

    Surely Last.FM is about the performers not the composers?
  • True Artists?

    Ago 16 2010, 18h04

    This is a repost from 2009, imported from my old Last.FM profile traindriver. Some of the issues described in this blog entry has been addressed by Last.FM, thank you!
    One of the nagging problems with Last.fm is the system's inability to determine just which artist you are listening to for sure. What do I mean with that? Well, take Bulldog Breed for instance, there are two bands by that name, one (the original) is a psychedelic band and another (the ursurper) is a band; and to make matters worse, they both released an album by the same name, Made in England, thirty years apart. The only distinction is the record labels: Deram and Final Conflict, the latter is the fund-raising mechanism for the outlawed British terrorist organisation, .

    At the time I wrote this, Bulldog Breed's Swedish-language version artist page, currently features the racist band-version but has the presumably, non-racist 60's band's Made in England album cover art as main picture....

    When one of us Last.fm:ers a track (uploads listening data), Last.fm's servers will create (if it doesn't already exist) an artist page for that track's artist name, an album page for that track's album name, and a track page for that track's name. If any of these pages already exists, Last.fm will instead increase the play count on the corresponding page. As far as the server is concerned, there is only one band called Bulldog Breed and they are both it! Now in Swedish Bulldog is actually spelt with two g's as "bulldogg", hence the rock band Agent Bulldogg. If a scrobbler had misspelled (whether deliberate or not) the artist name of "the Breed band" then Last.fm would create an artist page with the misspelling too!

    One of the severe limitations of Last.fm is that it's servers were designed for the English (British) alphabet only, i.e. 26 characters a-z. My Swedish language has 28 characters, a-z + å, ä & ö (but no w), these additional characters are a conundrum to the Last.fm server. Take my favourite band Ölhävers for instance, there is user pages for Ölhävers, Olhävers, Ölhavers, Olhavers - and confusingly - separate pages for ölhävers and ölhavers? Each form of capitalisation of the extended characters is treated as an unique symbol... Even worse is when the scrobbler's computer failed to recognise an extended character-set and saved an artist or track name, using "nonsense" characters such as ÷ or l. Simply inserting a stop or a space in the wrong place can throw the listings into disarray, as can using the ss instead of the German ß, or c instead of the French ç or an "and" instead of the ampersand (&).

    Then there are the languages; imagine you've bought a newly produced album from the classical genre label Decca, by Peter Tchaikovsky, what artist name will you save him by in your computer (i.e. in ) so that he gets scrobbled correctly? The are no fewer than 52 versions currently on Last.fm, that's 52 artist pages for one single composer. The question is whether he should have an artist page at all, he doesn't play any recorded music, he d it. Other artists (s and s) performs it. After all, the artist Louise Veronica Ciccone (Madonna) didn't compose many of her songs, yet we credit her as the artist, not "her" songs' composers: Stuart Price, Benny Anderson, Björn Ulvaeus, Steve Winwood, Mirwais Ahmadzai, Jem Griffiths, Guy Sigsworth and Monte Pittman, to mention a few.

    Back to our Пётр Ильич Чайковский, that's right, that's how you write his name in his own language! Transliterated into the latin alphabet his name is suddenly spelled "Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky" and this is where the real headache surfaces... There is no Latin character J in the Cyrillic alphabet, instead they use Y or Ü rather, so Пётр becomes Pyotr, which when Anglicised becomes Pjotr, whose English equivalent is Peter. I don't know about you, but when I scrobble music to Last.fm its so I can log who I listen to and see how my listening compares with my friends, and to see how popular artists and tunes are by their play counts. But when the song or artist name originates outside basic English their statistical gathering becomes very complicated. Should I save non-Latin based names in their original form or in a Latinism form or translate them to my language?

    Generally speaking I tend to research non-English names to see which version is the most common on Last.fm and then impose that as the naming standard for that artist or composer. Hence why all my Tjajkowskij tracks are saved in Cyrillic whilst the Polish artists are saved with the extended Polish alphabet, Arabic in Arabian font and Swedes in Swedish, but Asian artists I generally save by their Anglicised names.

    There ought to be an universal standard for naming bands and tracks, the problem is, in whose language?
  • Rebellion 2010

    Ago 16 2010, 17h57

    Last weekend, I went for the 3rd year to the & Rebellion Festival 2010, in Blackpool, UK.



    This can easily be described as the foremost annual - in Britain, and its held at the in Blackpool, a venue designed for ! Spread over six stages and four days, from early afternoon to late night, over 200 live performances were made. As the weekend ticket sold originally for £80 (GBP), this meant each act could be seen for as little as 40p each - of course trying to see them all would mean a lot of running around!

    Personally I had highlighted 18 acts I wanted to see, from the programme, which I downloaded the night before the festival; and I had already 3 clashes! (Un)Fortunately one of those acts, Krawallbrüder cancelled and their middle-aged substitutes The Hooligans were not exactly what I would call a crowdpuller! That said, they weren't exactly bad as a group and deserved more from the festival goers than having to perform to an empty room!

    The Hooligans
    KrawallBrüder's crowd has left...
    four skinheads from Switzerland on the right


    The bands that I did get to see, were: 999, The Oppressed, Control, Department S, The Warriors, Argy Bargy, Hard Skin, The Last Resort, ABBA Sensation, Atilla The Stockbroker, Banditos, Ben Childs, Blitzkrieg, Choking Susan, Cockney Rejects, Cro-Mags, East End Badoes, Reazione, Section 5, Sonic Boom Six, The Aggrolites, The Godfathers & Acid Drop.

    Control performs on the Olympia 2 stage


    The stages at were Olympia 1 & 2, , (signposted "Ballroom" in the venue but only called "Empress" in the official programme), and . There was a canteen that served cheap food all day and evening, amusement arcades, market stalls and merchandise stalls and seven bars! True to tradition (but why?) the biggest crowd pullers played the smallest rooms, so the qeues to some events were ridiculous whereas there was never a queue to the dual-stage Olympia room/carpark.

    crowd watches the Olympia 1 stage


    Unfortunately I didn't get to see Stomper 98, Krawallbrüder, The King Blues, nor Guns On The Roof, but that's how festivals are, fun - impulsive - unpredictable. Over the four days I saw loads of and , young and old! One young skinbaby was still in his (her?) pram, not old enough to sit up unaided, where's one old (original?) punk actually had a zimmer-frame! I'd say that the 30+ group certainly outnumbers the youngster but it is good to see that young people still are drawn to the classical punk and skinhead styles and not just as the media would have us believe, or !

    Speaking of , because Rebellion is marketed as , only such bands are supposed to be performing, but rather hypocritically they also let vocally bands, such as Los Fastidios, play there; and they miss no opportunity segregating the scene by spouting political propaganda "Cuba Libré"-style...

    A nearby venue, the , hosts the bands that falls on Rebellion's black list, these are / or "" bands, or bands that have played alongside/supported banned bands in the past (yes, there is a banned band list in the UK). This year, for a small extra charge of £4, you were offered (no I didn't go) a night of Code 1, Pressure 28, die hards, & Streetpunk Drunks.

    Rebellion is family-orientated and as such there is a very mixed crowd, with many kids (most are also appropriately attired for a punk event) and the really hardcore punx tend to stay outside the venue the entire weekend, most of the punk acts perform in what is known as or which is what is Winter Garden's carpark normally. Closed Doors (car exits) facing the street outside the venue lets all the sound out and the drives usually are crowded with leather-clad punks doing what punks usually do when they congregate like this... The Cops usually keep watch from a distance and only intervene if things gets out of hands. A small but growing group of openly who also likes this music has begun to attend and this year I recognised at least three times as many faces as in 2009.

    Tickets for Rebellion Festival 2011 is now on sale! Dates August 4-7th.
    Cock Sparrer has already confirmed they are coming and this is their only live performance for 2011 - not to be missed!! Tickets £80 pre-sale and £100 on general release.

    Finally, a special thank you to s Gerry & William at Lolly's Hotel for the affordable accommodation!